POLITICS

Scott Walker Removes Campus Rape Reporting Requirements After University's Request [UPDATE]

02/27/2015 12:02 pm ET | Updated Mar 02, 2015
ASSOCIATED PRESS

UPDATE: Feb. 28 -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker deleted campus rape reporting requirements from his new two-year budget this month at the request of University of Wisconsin Systems. The network of campuses said the federal government already required them to report rape statistics, and the Wisconsin state requirement forced them to duplicate those efforts.

A report by Jezebel on Friday suggested that Walker deleted the rape requirements as a policy move. Walker's office and UWSystems have since confirmed that was not the case.

Previously:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) nearly $70 billion budget proposal deletes language requiring colleges to report their sexual assault statistics to new students and to the Department of Justice, Jezebel reported on Friday.

The budget, unveiled earlier this month, removes a requirement that directs "each institution and college campus to incorporate oral and written or electronic information on sexual assault in its orientation program for newly entering students and to supply all students enrolled in the institution or college campus with the same information in either printed or electronic form."

It also deletes the requirement that any university employee who witnesses a sexual assault must report that assault to the dean of students, the requirement that each school report sexual assault statistics annually to the DOJ, and the requirement compelling the DOJ to include those statistics in crime reports.

Walker's two-year spending plan does not appear to replace the rape reporting requirements with anything, and it's out of step with federal law. Colleges are currently required to incorporate prevention programs and information about sexual assault reporting options in orientation per the Violence Against Women Act, and they are required to report their sexual assault statistics annually to the DOJ.

A spokesman for Walker said the University of Wisconsin system requested the deletion of provisions of "duplicative reporting requirements," since the federal government already requires reporting.

"Throughout his time in office, Governor Walker has made protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault a top priority," said Laurel Patrick, Walker's press secretary. "In his last budget, he increased funding for sexual assault victim services while also providing significant funding to support partnerships and state initiatives to shelter and protect victims of domestic abuse. His recent budget proposal increases funding to continue protecting victims and their families."

Walker's move follows a year of unprecedented attention on the epidemic of campus assault by the Obama administration and Congress. Ninety-seven colleges and universities are currently under federal investigation for mishandling sexual assaults on their campuses, according to the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

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